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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Fifth Mark of a Sound Church

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day
Acts 2:42 - "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."

Matthew 28:19 - "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Daily Scripture Reading - 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Puritan Catechism
Question #10 - How did God create man?
Answer - God created man, male and female, after his own image (Gen. 1:27), in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness (Col 3:10; Eph. 4:24) with dominion over the creatures (Gen. 1:28).

Devotional Thoughts

The Fifth Mark of a Sound Church: The Ordinances of Baptism and Communion are Administered

A healthy, properly functioning church will observe often the ordinances that Christ initiated and left as a sign of His death and resurrection. It is absolutely necessary that a church observe faithful and rightly these two ordinances.

The first is the ordinance of Baptism. In the original Biblical text, the word meant to dip or immerse in water. It is necessary to be obedient to the Lord that we baptize those who profess faith in Him. Baptism, though, while having no active part in our salvation is a direct proof of our obedience to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

He said that we are to baptize those we disciple. We are to go and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This way the new convert is obedient to our Lord's first command. And this way they give a living testimony to the change that has taken place in their lives through the grace of God.

Baptism is a vivid sign, an outward symbol of an inner truth. When a person is baptized they are saying with their actions that they have died with Christ and been raised with Him to a new life. We are "buried" under the water and "resurrected" as we are brought up out of the water. Signifying the death of the old self and the new birth and new life of the inner man (Romans 6).

This ordinance is to be administered by ministers of the church to those who have professed faith in Christ. It is to be performed in the Name of the Father (Who of His own free will and by His sovereign grace saved us), the Son (Who lived a perfect and sinless life and died in our place, thus giving us His righteousness while taking away our sin and its penalty and then was resurrected from the dead giving us victory over death and life everlasting in His presence), and the Holy Spirit (Who convicts us of sin and regenerates us by the Word of God preached and heard, going on then to serve as the seal of our salvation and our Helper and Comforter forever).

The Lord's Supper, or Communion as it is commonly known, is the fulfillment of the Passover Feast. We follow His example, in that on the night He was betrayed, He participated in the last legitimate Old Covenant Passover feast with His disciples. He took the unleavened (free from yeast which was a sign in the Bible of sin) bread and the wine (also free from yeast, the sign of sin, signifying His sinlessness) and gave it to the disciples to eat in commemoration of the sacrifice He was about to make of Himself as the Lamb of God who had come to take away the sin of the world.

When He had taken the bread and given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

And then later in the supper he also took the cup and said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."

Paul adds that as often as we commemorate His death with this meal, we proclaim His death until He returns (1 Cor. 11:24, 25, 26).

The bread is symbolic for us of His body, perfect and sinless, yet broken and put to death as an atoning sacrifice. The wine is a sign of His blood, shed for the remission of our sins. And as we eat and drink, we are told to remember Him and the price He paid to redeem us.

Paul also lets us know in 1 Corinthians 11 that this commemorative meal is to be used always as an occasion for self-examination. We are to use the Lord's Supper not only to remember His death, but also as a time to allow the Spirit of God to convict us of sin and prepare us for worship. This offers us the opportunity to make absolutely sure that we have all things right with God and between our brothers and sisters in Christ! It is indeed a time for reflection and a time not to be entered into lightly.

It is also a meal that is to be celebrated often within the church! The New Testament found the young church celebrating this Supper sometimes DAILY! Can we really celebrate the Lord's death and victory over sin and the grave too often? Why relegate it to once every few weeks, months, or only at special times? It is to be observed often. The examination is to be thorough. And the results are wonderful communion with the Lord and the opportunity to bless others by proclaiming His death until He comes again.

For further study, the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith includes 3 chapters on Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Chapter 28, 29, and 30.

BONUS #1: You can listen to 2 sermons on the Lord's Supper at these links:
Passover, An Everlasting Ordinance
Instructions for the Observance of Communion

BONUS #2: Here is part 2 of Al Mohler's Commentary titled "Why Do We Preach?" - A Foundation for Christian Preaching, Part 2

Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from a poem by John Bunyan titled The Building, Nature, Excellency, and Government of the House of God.



The man that worthily rejected is,
And cast out of this house, his part in bliss
Is lost for ever, turns he not again,
True faith and holiness to entertain.
Nor is it boot, for who are thus cast out,
Themselves to flatter, or to go about
To shift the censure; nothing here will do,
Except a new conversion thou come to.
He that is bound on earth, is bound in heaven,
Nor is his loosing, but the sin forgiven;
Repentance too, forgiveness must precede,
Or thou must still abide among the dead.



O shame! Is't not a shame for men to be
For sin, spu'd out from good society!
For man enlightened to be so base!
To turn his back upon the God of grace!
For one who for his sins has mourn'd and cry'd,
To slight him, who for sin hath bled and died!
What fool would sell his part in paradise,
That has a soul, and that of such a price?
What parallel can suit with such so well,
As those, for sin cast down from heaven to hell!
But let me tell thee, here is aggravation;
The angels, though they did fall from their station
Had not the caution thou hast had; they fell;
This thou hast seen, and seeing, didst rebel.
One would a thought, the noise of this their fall,
A warning; yea, a warning, and a call,
Should unto thee have been, to have a care
Of falling too: O how then didst thou dare,
Since God did not spare them, thus to presume
To tempt him in his wrath, thee to consume.
Nor did the angels from a Jesus fall,
Redeemed they were not, from a state of thrall;
But thou! as one redeem'd, and that by blood,
Redemption hast despised; and the mud
Or mire of thine own filth again embracest:
A dying bleeding Jesus thou disgracest!
What wilt thou do? see's not how thou hast trod
Under thy foot, the very Son of God?
O fearful hand of God! And fearful will
Thy doom be, when his wrath thy soul shall kill.

Yea, with a signal these must hear their sin,
This dirty sow from mire has washed been,
Yet there did wallow, after wash'd she was;
So to procure a lust, obtain'd this loss.
O shame! is't not a shame for man to be,
So much averse to his felicity,
That none can make him leave to play the fool,
Till to the devil he be put to school,
To learn his own salvation to prize?
O fool! must now the devil make thee wise?
O sot! that will in wickedness remain,
Unless the devil drives thee back again.

Hast quite forgot how thou wast wont to pray,
And cry out for forgiveness night and day?
Or dost thou count they were but painted fears
Which from thine eyes did squeeze so many tears?
Remember man, thy prayers and tears will cry
Thee down to hell, for thine apostacy.
Who will not have what he has prayed for,
Must die the death, his prayer shall him abhor.
Hast thou forgotten that most solemn vow
Thou mad'st to God, when thou didst crave he bow
His ear unto thee would, and give thee grace,
And would thee also in his arms embrace?
That vow, I say, whereby thou then didst bind
Thyself to him, that now thy roving mind
Recoil against him should, and fling away
From him, and his commandments disobey.
What has he done? wherein has he offended?
Thou actest now, as if thou wast intended
To prove him guilty of unrighteousness,
Of breach of promise, or that from distress
He could, or would not save thee, or that thou
Hast found a better good than he; but how
Thou wilt come off, or how thou wilt excuse
Thyself, 'cause thou art gone, and did refuse
To wait upon him that consider well;
Thou art as yet alive, on this side hell.
Is't not a shame, a stinking shame to be
Cast forth God's vineyard as a barren tree?
To be thrown o'er the pales, and there to lie,
Or be pick'd up by th' next that passeth by?

Well, thou hast turn'd away, return again;
Bethink thyself, thy foot from sin refrain;
Hark! thou art call'd upon, stop not thine ear:
Return, backsliding children, come, draw near
Unto your God; repent, and he will heal
Your base backslidings, to you will reveal
That grace and peace which with him doth remain,
For them that turn away, and turn again.

Take with thee words, come to the throne of grace
There supplicate thy God, and seek his face;
Like to the prodigal, confess thy sin,
Tell him where, and how vicious thou hast been.
Suppose he shall against thee shut the door,
Knock thou the louder, and cry out the more;
What if he makes thee there to stand a while?
Or makes as if he would not reconcile
To thee again? Yet take thee no denial,
Count all such carriages but as a trial
Whether thou art in earnest in thy suit,
As one truly forlorn and destitute;
But hide thou nought of all that thou hast done,
Open thy bosom, make confession
Of all thy wickedness, tell every whit;
Hast thou a secret sin? don't cover it;
Confess, thyself judge, if thou wouldst not die;
Who doth himself judge, God doth justify.

To sin, and stand in't, is the highest evil;
This makes a man most like unto the devil;
This bids defiance unto God and grace;
This man resists him spitteth in his face,
Scorns at his justice, mocketh at his power,
Tempts him, provokes him, grieves him every hour:
When he ariseth, he will recompense
This sturdy rebel for his impenitence:
Be not incorrigible then, come back again,
There's hope, beg mercy while life doth remain.

Obj. But I fear I am lost and cast away,
Sentence is past, and who reverse it may?

Ans. The sentence past, admitteth or reprieve;
Yea, of a pardon, canst thou but believe.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


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